Trevor Bayne, driver of the No. 6 AdvoCare Ford Fusion, earned a seventh in the first stage of Sunday afternoon’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) event at Sonoma Raceway before a persistent overheating condition ultimately led to a 27th-place finish.
“We showed we had speed with our AdvoCare Ford today,” said Bayne after the race. “Every time we could really get going the temps would unfortunately keep getting hotter and hotter which is why we had to come down pit road during that final stage. I hate that we didn’t get the result we deserved but we will rebound form this next week at Daytona where anything can happen and I hope to be out front when it’s all said and done.”
Bayne took the green flag for the 110-Lap event from the 25th position and maintained his track position until an overheating condition due to grass and dirt on the grill of the AdvoCare Ford forced an unscheduled pit stop halfway through Stage 1. An opportune caution just one lap after the stop on Lap 13 proved beneficial, as Bayne was able to stay out on the track while several of the leaders chose to come to pit road. As a result, Bayne took the ensuing restart from the 10th position and methodically worked his way forward in the final laps of the stage to end Stage 1 in seventh, earning valuable stage points in the process.
In between stages crew chief Matt Puccia decided to keep the driver of the AdvoCare Ford on pit road for an extended pit stop in order to further clean the grill of debris. Following the stop Bayne returned to the track for the beginning of Stage 2 in 38th and maintained his track position throughout much of the stage. This was done by design as Puccia devised a plan to have Bayne come to pit road just before the end of the stage so that they could stay out to begin the final stage.
The call paid off as Bayne improved 16 positions by virtue of staying out, moving up to the 19th position. The Knoxville, Tenn. native steadily moved forward during the final stage, driving up to the 16th position despite reporting that the AdvoCare Ford needed help with forward drive on the exits of the right and left-handed corners. Although not handling to his liking Bayne continued to battle for position in the top 20 until another round of green flag pit stops commenced on Lap 70.
Just eight laps after pitting for four tires and a chassis adjustment the Roush Fenway Racing driver was forced to return to pit road as the AdvoCare Ford once again began to overheat. This unscheduled pit stop ultimately cost Bayne a lap to the race leaders.
Utilizing a never-give-up attitude, Bayne improved six positions in the closing laps to take the checkered flag in 27th.